News Local

New owners keeping low profile; tenants’ reaction mixed to changeover 0

By Ian McInroy, Barrie Examiner

A proposal to purchase the Kozlov Centre on Bayfield Street in Barrie has been accepted, with a tentative closing date of Jan. 21, 2013. The name of the potential buyer has not been announced.IAN MCINROY BARRIE EXAMINER

A proposal to purchase the Kozlov Centre on Bayfield Street in Barrie has been accepted, with a tentative closing date of Jan. 21, 2013. The name of the potential buyer has not been announced.IAN MCINROY BARRIE EXAMINER

The new owners of the Kozlov Centre are keeping a low profile.

Although they have not yet publicly confirmed their purchase of the Bayfield Street shopping centre, it’s believed McCowan & Associates of Barrie closed the deal earlier this week.

Tenants of the Kozlov Centre have received letters from their new landlord detailing whom to contact and where to send the cheques, courtesy of 2355847 Ontario Ltd., at a Dunlop Street East address.

“It’s a great thing for the mall,” said Judy Ashton of Party City. “It will bring back life into it — and new customers — for all the tenants.”

Opened in 1986, one of Barrie’s first shopping malls was named after Lou Kozlov, who ran it under the business name Chez Belle Ltd. for the past 26 years.

Target Canada announced it would not be picking up the mall’s 110,000-square-foot, two-storey Zellers department store, which will be closing in March.

A call to both Cadillac Fairview, and Rio-Can Real Estate Investment Trust — who recently bought Georgian Mall for $318 million — determined they were not the new owners.

A business name search turned up the name McCowan and Associates of Barrie.

The person who answered the phone at that office offered ‘no comment’ when called Friday.

However, Ron McCowan has recently been praised for renovating both The Creative Space and former Robinson Hardware buildings on Dunlop Street East.

Tenant reaction to the sale has been mixed, however some say they are feeling a sense of anxiety until they meet the new owners.

“The whole thing seems a little weird,” said Trevor Brown, of Fix-Em-Up Shoe Repair.

Brown said he would like to meet the new landlords and hear if they have any plans for the mall.

The owner of another store, who wouldn’t offer his name, agreed with Brown, saying “they’re keeping us in the dark.”

Business owner Amanda Foster is packing up her small gift store to leave when her lease ends Feb. 10. After running a shop at the Kozlov for the better part of six years, she’s perplexed about the changeover.

“I’m kind of angry with how they handled the whole situation,” Foster said. “I had to find out (it was sold) on the radio.”

Foster said she was informed her end of the mall, near the Metro grocery store, wouldn’t have small shop sizes available as there are plans to move and relocate three stores to that end of the mall, where Advance Tailor & Dry Cleaners has been for the past 18 years.

Kim Ta, who runs the stand-alone cleaner stall, said she hopes to keep her business going at the Kozlov Centre.

“If they allow me to stay, I’ll stay. I’m happy here,” Ta said.

cheryl.browne@sunmedia.ca

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